I spent time working in many different roles in the kitchen during my placement scheme at university, from washing dishes and helping with food prep, to writing menus. It was then I saw first-hand what it was like to work in a kitchen. Although chaotic at times, the kitchen dynamic was so different to anywhere else I’d worked and there was always so much banter flying around with the other chefs in the kitchen.
When I finished my degree, I joined BaxterStorey’s Graduate Programme in 2016 which kickstarted my career in hospitality. Packed with training courses, food festivals and site mobilisations, the nine months gave me the opportunity to see all sides of the business, from menu design with the head chefs to sourcing suppliers with the supply chain team.
I was offered the role of catering manager at two exciting locations in London, a corporate innovation agency and a television network headquarters. It was a proud (and slightly daunting!) moment to be given two restaurants to relaunch from day one. I was able to put my graduate training into practice and I had a lot of support from my operations director. Running a restaurant is great fun as you must be creative and think up new ideas to keep your customers coming back, and not venturing to the high street. I’ve organised everything from stand-up comedy nights, silent discos and culinary masterclasses, and it always proves a hit with both my team and customers.
From ACE charity dinners to Oxford Brookes university career events, I’ve been given so many opportunities to network with people across the industry, which led to me taking on my current role as account manager, managing a team of 44.
Since I started my role, everything has been 100mph! In 2019, I was awarded the Foodservice Catey’s first Rising Star Award; I was genuinely surprised to hear I’d been shortlisted, let alone to have gone on and won it! My manager had nominated me for ability to stay on top of industry trends, to be able to deliver client’s expectations. To be recognised in front of hundreds from across the hospitality industry was such a career highlight.
I never imagined when I was working as a KP back in my university days that I would be winning top industry Awards – I can honestly say I love my job!